14 Feb 2020
Students forced to remove underwear to prove they aren't menstruating
In a shocking episode, 68 students of a college were forced to remove their underwear to "prove" they weren't menstruating on Thursday.
All this happened at principal Rita Raninga's behest, alleged students. After media reports, the administration has promised strict action.
The college has 1,500 students, 68 stay in hostel
The abhorrent incident happened at the Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute (SSGI), which is run by followers of Swaminarayan Mandir.
Established in 2012, the college shifted to a new building in 2014. The building is at the premises of Swaminarayan Kanya Mandir.
The college offers B.Com, B.Sc., and BA courses, and has 1,500 students. Of them, 68, who come from remote areas, stay in a hostel.
Girls were insulted for "violating" rules
The college has strict rules under which menstruating girls aren't allowed to "touch" others or enter the kitchen.
But this week, the hostel administration complained to principal Raninga that some of the menstruating girls not only "mingled" with others, but also roamed in the kitchen and campus.
One of the students, Durga (it's a pseudo name) told Ahmedabad Mirror they were insulted.
Series of events
Girls were yelled at, forced to proof they weren't menstruating
Durga revealed that when they were attending a lecture, rector Anjaliben complained to the principal.
"We were forced to queue up outside in the passage. The principal abused and insulted us, asking which of us were having our periods. Two of us who were menstruating stepped aside," she said.
Despite this, they were taken to washroom, forced to strip to "confirm" they weren't on periods.
When students complained, trustee gave an apathetic response
Another student, Shakti (a pseudo name), said the principal, rector, and trustees constantly insult them over this issue. It's like they are punished for having periods, she claimed.
She said when they complained to trustee Pravin Pindoria about this, he replied they can take legal action, but will have to vacate the hostel.
He also forced students to sign a letter claiming nothing happened.
Some officials have promised to take action
Another trustee, PH Hirani told the daily that since the college shares campus with a temple, girls are expected to follow sect's rules.
"However, what happened to the students is unfair. Action will be taken," he said.
And the in-charge V-C Dr. Darshana Dholakiya formed a fact-finding committee and promised to take strict action "against whoever is responsible for this kind of behavior".
National Commission for Women took cognizance of the matter
After the news surfaced, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said an inquiry team would visit the girls.
"NCW has also appraised the Kutch University in-charge Vice-Chancellor Darshna Dholakiya and the DGP of Gujurat, Shivanand Jha (IPS) to look into the matter thoroughly and report to the Commission at the earliest on their action taken," a press note by NCW read.
Gujarat State Women Commission has sought answers too
Separately, Leelaben Ankola, the spokesperson of the Gujarat State Women Commission (GSWC) said, "I have spoken with the Police Commissioner and DSP Kutch regarding the matter. I have ordered them to carry out an investigation regarding the shocking incident."
- National Commission for Women (NCW)
- Ahmedabad Mirror
- Darshana Dholakiya
- Darshna Dholakia
- DSP Kutch
- Gujarat State Women Commission
- Kutch University
- Leelaben Ankola
- National Commission
- National Commission For Women
- PH Hirani
- Police Commissioner
- Pravin Pindoria
- Rita Raninga
- Shivanand Jha
- Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute
- Swaminarayan Kanya Mandir
- Swaminarayan Mandir
- V-C Dr
- Vice-Chancellor Darshna Dholakia